Sweden introduces aviation tax in effort to help climate

Sweden introduces aviation tax in effort to help climate
Sweden has introduced an aviation tax that the government says is an effort to limit the impact of air travel on the environment. However, the country’s Environmental Protection Agency says it won’t have a big effect on emissions.

Passengers departing from Swedish airports will be hit with an extra charge of between 60 and 400 kronor ($7 and $48) depending on where they are flying to. The charge will apply to everyone except flight crews, passengers stopping without changing planes and babies being carried in a guardian’s arms.

“The objective of the tax is to minimize the carbon footprint of flights following a sharp increase in air travel,” Swedish Climate Minister Isabella Lovin wrote in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

That claim was somewhat undermined by Mats Björsell, a spokesperson for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, who said on Sverige Radio that the tax is not expected to reduce emissions very much.

"There's no big direct effect on the emissions, it's there, but that's not what's important, but you have to start somewhere to pay for the climate impact from our flight," Björsell said.

A government report estimated that the tax could potentially reduce Sweden's greenhouse emissions by up to two percent.

The move has been criticised by the Center Party, which argued instead for requirements that would make airlines use a certain percentage of biofuels. A survey in Dagens Nyheter found that the tax is quite widely supported, with 53 percent of Swedes saying they are in favor of it.

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